Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Renovations Continue (and a happy eighth birthday to the blog!)

Have you ever taken on a major renovation project? I can't say that I have, but as HGTV is the only channel I watch (well, ok - occasionally the food network, too 😊), I've observed a fair number of them. And invariably, just as things are trucking along, everything comes to a screeching halt as some unforeseen challenge arises: hidden water damage, cracked foundations, rotted floor joists... The homeowners despair as they are confronted with the bad news, and wonder why they ever took this project on in the first place. But in the end, usually after a significant investment of even more time and money, the problem is corrected and the home is more secure, efficient, durable and beautiful than ever before.

I lied when I said I'd never taken on a major renovation project... eight years ago, I began the serious and intense work of self-renovation. It started with the deeply disturbing and oddly liberating processes of self-awareness and self-revelation. I had no idea what I was getting myself into; prior to that point, I was moving right along, blissfully unaware of the mess that lay just below my cheerful, oblivious exterior. That I would unearth a severely cracked character, morbid motives, distorted childhood memories, rotten habits, carefully-concealed addictions, dysfunctional relationships and a diseased body and mind made me want to run screaming and bury my head in the sands of ignorance more than once.

Nevertheless, I persevered. Not without discouraging set-backs and looooong breaks, but the work continued. As I read back over the eight years of posts on this blog, I still recognize that lost little girl who was hopelessly addicted to food and approval, who desperately desired validation yet could see absolutely no reason to receive it. She's still there - there's a reason they call it "recovery".

But oh, the victories along the way!! And the beautiful individuals who came alongside to guide me through!! And downright miracles - so many miracles!! And more than anything, the lavish love of my Father that I was finally enabled to acknowledge and receive!! The journey has been more challenging than I could ever have imagined, but infinitely more rewarding and valuable, as well.

"Journey" is the right word, though. I used to believe that one day, I'd "arrive" - that there would be no more issues to work through, no more problems to solve, no more character flaws to tackle... and I will "arrive", but not on this side of eternity. My life has recently underscored this truth for me in some glaringly obvious ways.

Since I was healed from bipolar disorder in March of  2017 (you can read about that miracle here), my life has been vastly different and I've been able to do all sorts of things that were previously impossible for me; but that sneaking feeling that I had "arrived" began to creep in again. Thankfully (with just a wee bit of sarcasm here 😏), God has relieved me of that impression once again.

Three weeks ago, I attended my first weekly Celebrate Recovery meeting. CR is "a Christ-centered 12-step program designed to help us overcome any hurt, habit and hang-up". In those three weeks, I have again been confronted by my very worst self. It's been horrible.

On the other hand, though, it's been beautiful. A CR gathering is unlike anything I've ever experienced. Pretty much everyone there is or has been at the end of their rope; they frankly acknowledge that they are wounded and broken and are powerless to heal themselves. The worship times are raw and powerful; the teaching is authentic and practical; the small group sharing circles are heart-wrenching and real. Overwhelming? Yes, but exactly what my soul needs right now. (More about my discoveries in future posts, I'm sure.)

So... the last eight years have been... good. So thankful that "He's still workin' on me" 😊

(some hard, physical evidence of the ongoing renovations - 
indescribably grateful ❤)

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